By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Marshall’s Justin Rohrwasser, the Patriots’ newest kicker after being selected with the 159th overall pick on Saturday afternoon, sports his personality on his sleeves with some noteworthy ink.
But there is one tattoo that’s come under immediate scrutiny since Rohrwasser’s selection, as the 23-year-old’s left arm features a tattoo of the logo for the “Three Percenters,” a far-right militia movement.
And it didn’t take long for Rohrwasser, who spent his collegiate career split between Rhode Island and Marshall, to get asked about its meaning during his introductory conference call with the media.
“I got that tattoo when I was a teenager and I have a lot of family in the military. I thought it stood for a military support symbol at the time,” Rohrwasser explained. “Obviously, it’s evolved into something that I do not want to represent. When I look back on it, I should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body.”
While the group itself pushes back on the claim that they are anti-government and insist that they do not seek to incite violence, they have been involved in or connected to some undeniably polarizing events, perhaps none greater than some of its members providing security at the Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally in 2017. The group’s “National Council” ordered a stand down after receiving word of what was happening in Charlottesville, saying they do not want to associate or align themselves with any hate group. That same year, an Oklahoma man who was arrested after aims to carry out an attack similar to the the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing also claimed to support The Three Percenters, according to the FBI.
No matter their intent, and misunderstood or not (both in the case of the group and Rohrwasser’s tattoo itself), it’s not a group that the 6-foot-3 kicker wants any link to as he makes this jump to the NFL.
“It’s not something I ever want to represent,” said Rohrwasser. “It will be covered.”
The tattoos weren’t enough to deter the Patriots from making Rohrwasser the first kicker taken off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, as they certainly did their share of beneath-the-skin level homework on Rohrwasser.
“I did a psychological test with them, and that stood out to me because I think that kicking, a lot of it is mental,” Rohrwasser revealed. “The fact that they were looking into that and what my mental makeup was, and Coach [Cam] Achord came to my pro day and got to watch me in person, have a conversation with me that morning – I think they put a lot of attention to who the player is as a person to figure out what kind of guy they’re getting.”
As a senior for the Thundering Herd, Rohrwasser successfully converted 18 of his 21 field goals (with a long of 53), hit on 35-of-36 extra points, and was named the Conference USA Special Teams Most Valuable Player.